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Protest in front of Iqra Khalid's office on March 25, 2017. Photo: CIJnews

Panel discussion with MP Iqra Khalid was interrupted by protesters

The Voice of Canadians Forum, a self proclaimed “Ontario base community discussion forum”, held on Sunday, April 9, 2017, a panel discussion entitled “Building Bridges to Strengthen All Communities.”

Politicians and faith leaders took part in the event, including Liberal MP Iqra Khalid (Mississauga-Erin Mills), Liberal MPPs Bob Delaney (Mississauga-Streetsville) and Nathalie Des Rosiers (Ottawa—Vanier), Dr. Aliya Khan a Professor of Clinical Medicine, Divisions of Endocrinology and Metabolism at McMaster University, Rabbi Rabbi Stephen Wise from Shaarei-Beth El Congregation and Pastors.

The first speaker was Dr. Aliya Khan who dealt with the “false” stereotypes of Islam by stating:

  • Muslim women and men enjoy equal rights

  • Islam ensures that women’s physiologic differences are accommodated

  • Modest clothing is a free choice of women and not an expression of oppression

  • Marriage requires the consent of the woman to be valid

  • Woman can choose to stay an home and her financial needs have to be met by her husband, her family or the state

  • Women and men are equal business partners

  • Custody of young children is given preferentially to the mother

  • Seeking knowledge is compulsory for every woman and man

  • Islam allows freedom of religion

  • Fighting is only allowed in self defence and against oppression

The following is the transcription of Dr. Aliya Khan’s speech:

And aspects of the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him so that we can clearly demonstrate these stereotypes are false. The first stereotype is around gender equality and there is a myth that Islam treats women in a negative manner and deprives them of rights. And first of all, the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him clearly said that women are the equal and identical partners of men and that’s in Musnad Ahmad. Women are the equal and identical partners of men and God says in the Holy Quran in chapter 3 verse 195: Be man or woman each of you is equal to the other. Islam protects women’s rights and ensures that they are given equality and ensures that their physiologic differences to men are accommodated. The Prophet peace be upon him said paradise lies at the feet of your mother. In fact, the mother is given three times the respect than the father. And the modest dress that Muslim women wear is no different to the modest dress that people of other Abrahamic faiths have worn throughout the time, for example Christian nuns have dressed covering the hair and body with loose clothing, but no one is talking about Christian nuns being oppressed. Orthodox Jewish women also cover their hair and dress with modest clothing and wear long sleeves and long skirts or lose pants, but no one is talking about Orthodox Jewish women being oppressed. In fact, as a professor McMaster University one of my medical students happened to be an Orthodox Jewish lady and she said to me: Is it OK if I wear my traditional hair cover to the hospital? And I said: Of course, you know in this day and age women should not have limitations as to how they wish to dress, and she wore a very beautiful traditional haircover and she told me that she had been given this hair-cover by her grandmother, but she had always been afraid to wear it when she had other professors for fear that she would be discriminated against. So this discrimination and racism is still present in our society and it’s increasing towards other groups. It’s the same hatred but a different target. What about the consent to marriage? In Islam the woman has to give consent for the marriage to be valid. In fact, a woman came to the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him and she complained that her father had chosen a man for her to marry and the Prophet said that marriage requires consent to be valid. Islam was in fact the first religion to give women the right to divorce and there was this very beautiful quote, by one of the hadith scholars imam a-Dhahabi who wrote in his book: The husband is obliged to be gentle, kind and loving to his wife. He must show forbearance and patience towards her in case she is occasionally abusive or ill tempered. Are you guys listening? In case she is occasionally abusive or ill tempered, it is his duty to feed and cloth her and to provide for her needs well within his means according to the command of God Most High. And so women have the right to choose to be mothers and stay at home if they wish to choose that. If they want to stay at home and look after their babies, it is the husband’s responsibility to ensure that all her financial needs are met. She’s not obliged to go out and work if you doesn’t want to, and it her husband is not able to meet her financial needs, then it goes on to the rest of her family members, and if they’re not able to meet her financial needs, then that need has to be met by the state. And so many of my patients come and tell me: you know I’d love to stay at home and look after my baby, but I have to take my baby and take my baby to childcare because I need to earn a living. And that’s sad. That’s sad that today we don’t support women and their needs to be a mother. So as we were mentioning Islam was the first religion to give women the right to divorce but it would also give women the rights to inherent and to own property and to dispose of their property in the same way as a man, so to be an equal business partner. And it was in the 1900s that European women gained property rights, the right to contract, the right to dispose of their property without the consent of their husband. What about voting rights? Well, it was in 644 AD that when the third Caliph was being selected, Abdul Rahman bin Of went door to door asking girls and women of their opinion regarding which of the two nominees should be selected as the Caliph. So the right to political opinion and voting was given to women in the 7th century and it was achieved in North America in 1920. What about custody? What happens in the event of a divorce? Well, in Islam custody of young children is given preferentially to the mother. Boys until puberty, girls until marriage, and the Prophet peace br upon him said: Your right to custody of the child is greater as long as you do not remarry. If you remarry then other factors will be taken into consideration including the child’s desires and the child’s preference. The Prophet said: Seeking knowledge is compulsory for every woman and man. Every Muslim man. And women became leaders, they became teachers, scholars, astronomers, scientists, physicians and in the eleventh century Cairo had 5 universities established by women and 12 centers of learning in Damascus, and women served as the mufties, and mufty would be comparable to an archbishop, in 9th century Baghdad. What about religious freedom? Does Islam give religious freedom? Well, it clearly states that there is no compulsion in religion and that in Surah [Chapter] Baqara [The Cow] verse 256. God tells us to you be your way to me mine. That’s what we’re supposed to say. I’d like to end by saying a little bit about violence. In Islam the fighting is only allowed in self defence and against oppression. That is the only time that fighting is allowed and God tells us clearly and the Holy Quran Surah [Chapter] Baqara [The Cow] verse 190: Fight in the way of God against those who fight you.

When MP Iqra Khalid spoke about the importance of her private Motion 103 to fight “systematic racism” and Islamophobia in Canada, Lyn Redden, an activist with Suffragette interrupted her by saying:

So Canada, the most diverse country in the world who has welcomed you all, you sit in our parliament as a woman… I sit her and hear how Canada is racist all night and I completely disagree. I think it’s an insult. Let’s talk about women in Pakistan if you want to talk about discrimination and the oppressed. Stop with all your lies here. It’s

Such a lie. You have insulted me as a Canadian as a soldier daughter who fought and other soldiers at Vimy Ridge. We will not be quelled. This [M-103] is not about racism. This is about you trying to silence Canadians and tell us what to think and what to feel, and you have no right. The anger was not directed at Islam. It was directed at somebody who have had the arrogance to try and silence other people.. Do you understand, do you understand what soldiers fought in this country for?… In democracy the cornerstone in free speech. This has nothing to do with Islam. It has everything to do with free speech [holding a sign that reads: “Stop M-103 we will not be quelled”]. You cannot have democracy unless you have truth and how do you arrive at truth and you do not have free speech. You fools!… Don’t spread your lies here… What about the Shafias [girls who were drown to death by their father]… they were killed because they were westernized… where is their free speech… where is Aqsa Paverz’ free speech [Parvez was strangled to death by her father because she refused to the wear the hijab]? You are liars and you are not champions of women’s rights. You are a sellout… We will not be quelled.

Sandra Solomon, an ex-Muslim who raised in Saudi Arabia, also disagreed with MP Khalid. She noted that three imams in Canada said that Muslims who left Islam should be executed under Sharia Law [See “Quebec, Ontario imams say apostates to be executed by The Islamic State” – click HERE]. A woman with the organizers accused Sandra of uttering death threats, but when Sandra explained that she quoted Canadian Imams’ rulings on apostates, that woman claimed that this is a lie. Based on her own Islamic education and life experience in Saudi Arabia, Sandra said that Islam strives to obtain dominance emphasizing that Canada will not bow to Sharia Law and Canadians “will not be quelled.” Sandra clarified that she opposes Islam as an ideology, she doesn’t hate Muslims, and she is ready to have a dialogue with MP Khalid on this matter.

During the commotion, Lynn, Sandra and other activists were swarmed by the attendees who called them “bitches” and forcefully pushed them out of the meeting room. Sandra showed on Facebook alleged bruises on her arm.

She explained that the spontanious protest was aimed at the speakers who accused Canadians of “systematic racism” and the “misleading” presentation about women’s rights in Islam that contradicts the rulings of senior Canadian Imams. [See op-ed “With the passing of Motion 103 wife beating becomes part of the Canadian Values” – click HERE].

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About CIJnews Staff

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